Riverina Recovery House defended by owners and supported by police

199 Gurwood Street, the site of the proposed Riverina Recovery House in the heart of Wagga. Picture: Google Maps
199 Gurwood Street, the site of the proposed Riverina Recovery House in the heart of Wagga. Picture: Google Maps

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The developers behind a controversial recovery house proposal have tried to assure neighbours they have nothing to fear.

Neighbours voiced their concerns about addicts near their homes at a council forum on Monday, but developer Debbie Cox said she was simply trying to help people recover from their addiction.

“You look at social media and people knock it, but then others say ‘you don’t want drugs but you don’t want to treat people’,” Mrs Cox said.

“We need to change our way of thinking if we want to tackle the drug problem, we really need to embrace those that want to get well.”

Mrs Cox said the potential clients would be strictly screened and if they failed to abide by the rules, they wouldn’t simply but tossed out onto the street.

Wagga police commander Bob Noble said in principle, another form of rehabilitation in the city was a positive thing.

“If we don’t rehabilitate drug users then we’re just taxi drivers shuttling them from hospital to court to jail and back again,” Superintendent Noble said.

“Drug addiction is a matter that requires medical treatment of various forms… but I don’t particularly see a big law and order risk here.”

Developer Debbie Cox

Developer Debbie Cox

Any safety concerns were unfounded, according to Mrs Cox, with residents monitored around the clock and a zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol.

We need to change our way of thinking about the drug problem.

Debbie Cox

“This facility is purely and simply to help them stay off their addiction and integrate them back into society,” she said. 

“It's not the first step of their rehabilitation, it’s the final phase.”